Have you all seen me on TV3 today and read my name in Metro, Berita Harian, Sinar harian for the past two days?
Yes, I was pretty busy these two days. Busy attending to calls and interviews with them reporters.
Not long ago it was with FIDAF pouring milk and now with FMD.
Actually I never like myself being interviewed by reporters, more so with the camera on.
I am not a politician. I am just a governemnt servant trying to do his best, under numerous constraints, to provide a good veterinary services to the clients.
It is now a trend with a few of my farmers to call in reporters, either Sinar harian or TV3, whenever their animals fall sick. This time it is Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
Whenever there was an outbreak, they claimed that many of their cattle succumbed to the disease. This time the figure quickly inflated, from 2 to 15 in a matter of minutes dpending on who reported the incidence and in the presence of who?
Oh please! I have been dealing with FMD since I first joined service, way back in 1981 and I know for a fact cattle do not die like flies whenever they get FMD.
I was veri irritated reading published news in local dailies saying that, in one incident, 60 heads of cattle died of FMD. That kind of death is only possible with Hemorrhagic septicemia or acute poisoning, never FMD!
The figures are just given off the cuff with the hope of getting a compensation from the government.
From my observation over the years clinical signs of FMD among our local cattle are decreasing in severity and if not left untreated, they will recover very fast.
The real problem is many of the owners of let-loose-free-to-roam cattle
fail to provide the barest biosecurity measures to their animals.
Their farm (if any) is never equipped with essentials like a holding yard and a crutch. These are very necessary to muster the animals for routine vaccination and other health screenings.
Our boys are ever ready to vaccinate their animals, be it on weekends, if the animals are properly rounded-up and restraint. A few of them still hope that everything is done by us.
No, this luxury is no more with us. We are severely lacking in term of personnels and vehicles to cater for these too-dependent animal owners.
Prevention is better than cure is very much applicable with FMD. Every year cattle have to be vaccinated twice and for the vaccination to be protective, 80% or more of the herd has to be covered.
Also, unvaccinated free-roaming cattle is the most risky group to be infected with FMD. When they catch the disease, they will move around spreading the disease further.
Properly managed animals with good standard of bio-security seldom get the disease.